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Describe the Night

From 202 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Great writing

About the show

Set in Russia over the course of 90 years, the Atlantic's new epic drama from Rajiv Joseph ('Guards at the Taj') traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth, and conspiracy theories. More…

In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel wanders the countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes in the Russian city of Smolensk. 

Member Reviews (202)


Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Great writing
Avg Score

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to see an interesting portrayal of a true story with good acting and staging.

Don't see it if you want a light and funny comedy.

Ambitious, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you like plays about connection, "six degrees of separation"

Don't see it if you're over the anti-communist propaganda and roll your eyes at the writer's obvious love for capitalism and America

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Intense

See it if you love this playwright and are interested in unique drama.

Don't see it if you prefer comedy or musicals

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Epic, Intelligent

See it if you like beautifully acted plays with lots of ideas

Don't see it if you require all those ideas to add up to something concrete

Also The play was wonderful; it just missed greatness. Still, it will proba... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if You like novelistic drama drawn from history and relevant to the present .

Don't see it if You have difficulty following jumps in time periods.

Thought-provoking, Great writing, Unique

See it if You like a unique plot. The location and time periods along with the connection to all three is unlike anything you've experienced.

Don't see it if You don't have the patience for a massive plot to completely play out. It takes a long time to see all the connections.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Tedious, Tiresome, Beyond the skill of this playwright

See it if You like Tom Stoppard-lite. If you enjoy this playwright (guards at the taj) you will find him out of his depth here. Tina Benko is great.

Don't see it if You've had enough of overly long plays trying laboriously to connect the dots across time. It strains to be profound & becomes overextended

Entertaining, Interesting, Dated

See it if You like shows based around real life events or situations - these events actually took place, which I think is more fascinating.

Don't see it if You have a hard time following various accents and various time periods - it jumps back and forth (I thought it was clear but you may not).

The first line grabs you

See it if you enjoy the tangle of relationships and some interesting language

Don't see it if want a linear play as it goes back & forth in time

A wild, fun, long ride

See it if you are more wildly and creatively inclined. You appreciate imagination. Acting is good across the board. Writing is something to witness.

Don't see it if you like more concise and tightly constructed theater

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy history, Family stories, fabulous writing and want to be entertained

Don't see it if You can’t sit that’s 3 hour performance with 2 intermissions

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if an interesting and well-acted story told in a creatively and complexly crafted play--engaging all the way through

Don't see it if you require huge emotion--this play's strengths are its intelligence, poetry, and moments of wonderful writing

Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You like when a playwright attempts something ambitious even if not completely successful.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a long somewhat confusing merging of historical fact and fiction.

Entertaining, Great acting, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a professional theatrical production about the life and times of Isaac Babel mixed in with Russian history.

Don't see it if you can't stand a confusing mix of fact and fiction

Also Danny Burstein who plays Isaac Babel is terrific. He actually looks li... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy a though provoking experience. You can go with the flow and wait to see how all the strings attach. Enjoy depth.

Don't see it if You need linear play structure. Seek a light sit back and entertain me play.

Confusing, Clever, Dizzying, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you like when threads come together at the end

Don't see it if you hate weaving in and out of times periods and storylines

Ambitious, Entertaining, Silly

See it if you're ok with a wildly inventive genre piece that ultimately sinks beneath the weight of its ludicrous coincidences.

Don't see it if you cannot suspend your disbelief. You are looking for dialogue that sounds like how humans actually communicate.

Also This is entirely enjoyable but frankly not very good. The ideas are hu... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Great writing, Great staging

See it if totally engrossing drama about the relationships between a group of people in Soviet Russia & East Germany

Don't see it if there's no real message here, there's no real destination. it's not a traditional type of narrative play that tells a clear, specific story.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Intense, Masterful

See it if you love a great intricate story

Don't see it if you don't like long shows. its 3 hrs long

Clever, Absorbing, Intense, Profound, Intelligent

See it if you are interested in WWII history and want to see good actors in action.

Don't see it if you get bored from talks about politics, Nazis, and don't like gun shots in the theater

Ambitious, Intense, Dense, Epic, Intelligent

See it if You are a history buff, like involved stories, have enjoyed Rajiv Joseph, enjoy puzzles.

Don't see it if You don't like lengthy plays or cannot bear uncertainty.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You like historical drama based on real people but related with some creative license. An ambitious production with great acting.

Don't see it if You don’t like long dramatic plays with a non-linear storyline requiring attention to detail.

Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Entertaining

See it if A very dramatic telling of a historic story; felt captivated from the first second

Don't see it if You don't like strong drama, and perhaps history. I think both leads were terrific

Great staging, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if you love beautiful, intimate scenes in a complex spider web of a story.

Don't see it if you require a straight-forward, easily digestible play.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if You would like a well-paced, intelligent historical drama.

Don't see it if The above sounds boring to you, or if you don't like stories that jump around chronologically.

December 5th, 2017
“A frankly tiresome play...Joseph's comedy wilts rather than blossoms in proximity to his tragedy, and his tragedy droops into bathos. The production, directed by Giovanna Sardelli, is no help...The root problem is that the characters are mere conveniences, bent like pipe cleaners into the shapes...
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December 6th, 2017
“Ambitiously complex…In a nearly three-hour play, it's impressive that Joseph keeps everything spinning almost to the very end. What's missing, though, is a sense that there's a center to the whirlwind. What idea, other than ‘fiction exists,’ is all this historical flotsam whizzing around?...Stil...
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December 5th, 2017
“Dense and fascinating...A play about stories, one that begins in historical fact and spins outward...'Describe the Night' eels like a vital attempt to hold a mirror up to the former Soviet Union — in Joseph’s case, as an American playwright, a mirror in which we might also see ourselves...Intell...
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December 5th, 2017
“No shortage of imagination. But, it lacks the emotional resonance to make us sufficiently care about its characters...The playwright doesn't succeed at blending his wildly different stylistic tones and narrative lurches with sufficient finesse. For every scene that crackles with dramatic tension...
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